Obituary: Richard “Rick” Brower

Richard "Rick" Brower
Richard "Rick" Brower
Provided Photo

April 27, 1946 – December 4, 2022

Richard “Rick” Brower

April 27, 1946 – December 4, 2022

It is with a broken heart that I announce the passing of my beloved husband Rick on December 4, 2022. Rick struggled with his health the last year of his life, which took its toll. He was born into a military family in Glendale, Calif. Although the family moved around some, the bulk of his early and teen years were spent growing up in Southern California. As a youngster, Rick had a great interest in the outdoors and would much rather be out exploring on his bike, seeing and experiencing, than sitting in a “boring” classroom. His idea of education was getting out, discovering and doing things. He loved the ocean and spent as much time surfing as he could.

Rick was drafted into the U.S. Army during the Vietnam era and served as a medic. Once discharged from the Army, he knew Southern California was not the place he wanted to stay. He always had a vision of beautiful mountains with waterfalls, creeks and lakes. He found his vision when he discovered and moved to South Lake Tahoe in 1971. With his medic experience he was hired at Barton Memorial Hospital in the ER as an ER Tech. It was here that he met his future wife, Ursula. The two felt an immediate connection with their love of the outdoors and the Sierra.  Together they began hiking, backpacking and exploring every nook and cranny in the Lake Tahoe region and the Sierra. They loved long-distance hiking, and over the years they thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, the John Muir Trail, the High Sierra Trail and the old Tahoe-Yosemite Trail. This was in addition to countless other backpacking trips into the far reaches of the Sierra.

Rick also developed a passion for rock climbing. In 1976 he traveled to Kashmir and Ladakh, India, with some fellow climbers. Together they summited Stok Kangri (20,125 feet) in the Ladakh region and established a new route on Katzim Pahalin Bel (16,400 feet) in Kashmir. While in India he had the opportunity to meet Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, the first to summit Mt. Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary. Rick also worked one season as a climbing ranger on Mount Rainier. Spring and fall were often spent camping in the desert and exploring hot springs. Rick’s love for the outdoors soon landed him a job with the U.S. Forest Service as a wildland firefighter. He spent 27 years fighting wildfires throughout the United States, wherever the need was. Once retired from fighting fires, he worked as a dispatcher for the Forest Service. He spent his winters as a professional ski patroller at Heavenly Valley. Both jobs were his passion and allowed him to be in the outdoors he so loved.  

Rick always loved learning and trying new things. He had many interests, including fly fishing, tying his own flies, photography, astrophotography, blacksmithing, cowboy poetry, flint knapping, western history and the history of the early people of the Tahoe Basin. He was the type of person who could start up a conversation with anyone, and it seemed everyone in town knew and loved him. He is and will be greatly missed.  

Rick is survived by his loving wife and best friend for 50 years, Ursula, and his devoted cattle dog Darcy and cat Lily. He is also survived by his sister Beth and nieces Katie and Megan.

In Rick’s words, “May all our adventures be safe, fun, 75 degrees, with clear skies and an early sunrise on the tent. May they be full of the love of nature and love for one another.”

In Rick’s honor, cast a fly, hike a trail, climb a mountain, enjoy the beautiful nature we have been blessed with.

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